One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to keep your body in tip-top condition. While it may seem hard to fit this in during your trip, there are lots of things you can do to make sure your body stays healthy, and your defenses stay strong enough to fight off illness that may try to take you down!
Meditation and Mindfulness
Stress is one of the worst culprits when it comes to knocking down your body’s defenses. One of the best ways to combat stress is meditation. Even taking just a couple of minutes to slow down and center yourself can have incredible benefits, including keeping your stress levels low, and your body’s defense strong. It can also give you a sense of clarity, which can help you get the most out of your time abroad! One excellent option is the Insight Timer app, which has a large variety of free guided meditations that you can try!
Along the lines of meditation is yoga, which is a sort of meditation with your body. Along with the stress-relieving benefits that allow your body’s defenses to stay strong, yoga also helps increase flexibility and balance and improves your cardiovascular and respiratory health. There are many great YouTube channels devoted to yoga, one of which is Yoga with Adriene. Check out some videos, and enjoy getting bendy with it!
Cardio and Strength Training
To make your body as strong as possible, you may want to consider looking into a bit of cardio or strength training, especially if you currently work out regularly. While you may be doing quite a bit of walking on your tours, the Fitness Blender website has a wealth of all kinds of workouts, of varying intensity, length, if you want a bit more. Take a look at their library of videos and find the right ones for you!
Another way to get your fitness on is to add some hikes to your itinerary. South America is full of incredible landscapes that you can hike through, either with a day hike or a multi-day trek. The advantage of many of these hikes is that many of them are out in nature, away from people. This way, you’re not only getting exercise, but you’re social distancing too!
While travel is a time for indulgence, South America has plenty of delicious, fresh, healthy options you can choose from! Choosing healthy options will help you stay more energetic and keep your body’s defenses up. Have some fun with your food options, and experiment with some of the fresh, healthy flavors you will find during your travels!
Our bodies are 70% water. Your hydration level has a huge impact on how alert you are, how well you feel, and how efficient your body is at fighting off illness. Also, as you get into higher altitudes (for example, Cusco in Peru, La Paz in Bolivia, Quito in Ecuador, etc.), it is easier to lose water through your skin due to the drier mountain air. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure to drink as much water as possible. You can get this from bottles of water, coffee, tea (you can drink muña or coca tea to help with the altitude as well – double bonus!), or from your food such as soups or fresh fruits and vegetables. The more hydration, the better!
Sleep is one of the most important things that our body does. It’s essential for brain function, emotional well-being, and of course, your immune system. For this reason, you’ll want to be sure to get the proper amount of sleep, if at all possible. This can be difficult, especially if you’re drastically changing time zones, however, there are some tricks that can help. You can try to strategically move your bedtime by an hour or so each night to more closely match the time at your destination. When you land, start to get into the local rhythm as soon as possible – get moving in the morning, relax in the evening. Melatonin supplements can help as well – these are not so much sleeping pills, as a way to tell your body it’s time to sleep.
Protecting yourself and others
During your travels, you will want to take hygiene measures to protect yourself and those around you. This includes washing your hands very regularly, keeping your nose and mouth covered with a mask while out in public, maintaining a safe distance from others, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you don’t have access to a place to wash your hands, and monitoring your own health. By following these precautions, you can drastically reduce your chance of becoming ill and spreading an illness if you happen to be asymptomatic. We all have COVID-19 on our minds right now, however, these precautions will help to spread other illnesses as well.
To be successful, you’ll need to make a plan! Pack any workout gear you’ll need, try out a few videos or meditations to find the ones you like, bookmark them, and plan to do them! Also, if you have a favorite mask or hand sanitizer, or any other hygiene products that you like, make sure to have these accounted for as well! Then with the peace of mind that you are doing everything possible to keep you and your family as healthy as you can, you will be able to fully enjoy your adventure!